The NHL season is in full swing, and there are lots of moves being made still while each team figures out what is working and what isn’t for their roster. With lots of moving parts in the background, there are numerous NHL rumours as a result. Today we will be looking at NHL rumours surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres, and St. Louis Blues.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: According to James Mirtle of The Athletic, the price for acquiring Mikael Granlund could be a second and a third-round pick. This is comparable to that of the Gustav Nyquist trade.
Analysis: Granlund is an excellent defensive forward at 5v5, and would be a strong fit for the Leafs’ middle six. Granlund is also able to chip in offensively, putting up approximately a point every two games in recent years. After blowing a 5-1 lead to the Ottawa Senators, it seems the Leafs could still use defensive help. While they have addressed their actual defencemen multiple times, it seems they need to shift their focus to having defensively responsible forwards.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have their second-round pick for 2021, but not their third. This pick was traded to the LA Kings when acquiring goaltender Jack Campbell. They still have picks in future years to include as well, however. The Leafs should absolutely be looking to acquire Granlund, as he is a player they can send out in the final minutes of the third to defend a lead, but isn’t dead weight in the offensive zone either. If the price is similar to that of Nyquist, the Leafs should do said trade. They should look at Nashville retaining salary as well, as Granlund is only on a one-year deal.
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman said on WGR550 that he sees the possibility of the Sabres trading Jack Eichel. He lists the LA Kings and New York Rangers as possible teams that can give up the required pieces to get him.
Elliotte Friedman on WGR550 on whether he ever sees the possibility of the Sabres trading Jack Eichel: "Yes"
"Well here's the thing, obviously the way the Sabres came back out of the break with two really tough losses has started the talk about what could be happening."
— J (@Account4hockey) February 18, 2021
Analysis: Jack Eichel has been one of the top players in the NHL for a while now. For a trade rumour to come up for a player of his calibre is newsworthy. While Friedman says the Sabres aren’t quite to the point of trading him, the Sabres have yet to make the playoffs in the five seasons with Eichel with a sixth on the horizon, with no fault of Eichel’s. It’s no secret Eichel is unhappy, so other teams could look at the chance to jump and try to acquire the superstar centre.
Teams like the Rangers or Kings would need to give up quite a bit in a trade. Looking to acquire Eichel would almost certainly have to include an Alexis Lafreniere or Quinton Byfield type player. Buffalo would have to be careful when navigating an Eichel trade, however. Nine times out of ten it seems the team giving up the best player often loses. Something Buffalo knows a lot about with players like Ryan O’Reilly.
Any team that could possibly acquire Jack Eichel it would accelerate a rebuild, make them a playoff team, or make them instant cup contenders. This is a star in the NHL, and it should not be underestimated how much value Eichel has.
St. Louis Blues
Rumour: According to Sarah Goldstein of The Athletic, Jordan Binnington’s next contract could be in the range of $5.5 and $6.5 million on a 5-7 year contract.
Analysis: Binnington has been the Blues starter ever since they won the Cup in 2019. With his contract expiring after this season he’ll be looking for some term. When his first contract was up, Matt Murray was likely the closest comparable to Binnington. With a rough go last season and now in Ottawa as well, it seems like Binnington is surpassing that comparable. He will likely want more than Murray’s four-year, $6.25 million contract. This is in line with the approximation Sarah gave of $6.5 million for five to seven years.
Binnington has been strong for St. Louis. He is a player they will want to keep. While he is not as unstoppable as he was in that first season, no one expected him to keep that up. He has been a good starting goalie, and will likely be paid as such. With Jake Allen traded to Montreal, St. Louis has shown that they trust Binnington to be the starter for a long time.
This concludes today’s NHL rumours!
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